Can you explain your job to us in a few words?
I carry out tests on behalf of the design team in the name of objectivity. We perform several types of tests.
Design support tests: going back and forth between the prototyping, testing and analysis phases to be sure that the usage specifications defined by the Product Manager are fulfilled.
For example, for the TONIFINS fins, the main objective in the usage specifications was to build muscle in the glutes and hamstrings (back of the thighs). During prototyping, we make products that we call "monsters"; in this case we were testing the blade, the curvature, the length, etc. After these tests, the goal is to produce design aids.
Tests for research projects: they help us to understand a parameter and feed into design strategies.
Tests on product benefits: once the product is finished, a final test session is carried out to check its reliability and performance. What we are interested in here is a particular function of the product (propulsion of a fin, muscular exertion, fit of a swimsuit, etc.), which we will compare to a set of products to be able to communicate in store on the performance, function by function. This serves as a choice aid for users in our stores, and for us to describe our products without false claims.
Long-term tests are specific to the study of the durability of a product. These tests can be carried out on the product as a whole or to cause a specific defect. During these tests, we will for example check that the quality is sufficient in relation to the expected level. If the fins are supposed to correspond to regular use over two years, we will correlate the field and the lab to simulate reality and see if the fins are still of as good quality after this two-year simulation (efficiency of the product but also durability in relation to the environment).
The actual testing probably makes up 5 to 10% of the job. The rest is project management, analysis, strategy, audits, test preparation and pre-testing (to make sure there is no bias, etc.). It's a job with a lot of science, statistics... It's not just simply doing tests. We create test protocols, we analyse data, we learn to quantify a difference (for example, a 2% difference between two parameters can be huge or tiny depending on what is being studied).